Friday, 24 December 2010

Happy Christmas

Classic Clint from 1982
I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish everybody here a great Christmas and every happiness for 2011. It has been a wonderful year here at The Clint Eastwood Archive and the statistics continue to look very healthy indeed. In the last period of 2010 the site received over 81,000 hits, so I would like to thank everybody who continues to visit here and who offer support. I would especially like to thank Mal Baker and Dave Turner, two long time Clint related friends who continue to keep the faith and are always there to help out. I would also like to thank the wonderful JERRY WHITTINGTON. Jerry has worked on a number of Clint's classics such as Paint Your Wagon, Play Misty for Me and High Plains Drifter. Jerry has not only provided the archive with some great material, but he has also become a most valued friend. My sincere thanks Jerry. I would also like to thank Warner Brothers for their continued support, it's great to know you guys are there. There is still tons of material to be added here (Yes, honestly), I know the site already seems to be bulging at the sides, but we have only just scratched the surface (I can see Mal beginning to break out in a sweat already). There are still thousands of Photos and articles yet to be posted here. As friends of the site know, I always try and go the extra mile by making sure that most of the images are digitally restored before being posted.
Cheers to you all! ~The Clint Eastwood Archive~

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Eli Wallach collects Honorary Oscar

I'm a little late in reporting this news due to being stuck in the white wastelands of Northern England for the past couple of weeks. It was great to see the wonderful Eli Wallach awarded with an honorary Oscar last month. Eli (who turned 95 on Dec 7th) collected his award from long time friend Eastwood. Eastwood told the audience (at the Governors Awards ceremony which was held at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center on November 13, 2010) about their time while filming The Good, the bad and the Ugly in Spain.
Check out the following link:
http://www.oscars.org/video/watch/ga_2010_13_eastwood.html

Robert DeNiro also helped recognize 94-year-old actor Eli Wallach, who was presented with an Oscar statuette for his 60-year acting career that continues today.

"Eli, now that we’re going for the same parts, I hope we can remain friends," DeNiro joked.

Bennett, who was introduced as Wallach’s longtime friend, sang two songs in the actor’s honor.

Eastwood, who worked with Wallach on "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," called him "a great performer and a great friend" and thanked the academy for its "good taste and good sense" in presenting him with an honorary Oscar.

Wallach said he was deeply moved by the award.

"I don’t act to live, I live to act," he said, kissing his Oscar before stepping off stage.



Latest: Eli Wallach dies aged 98 - Click here

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The Wonderful Ingrid Pitt dies aged 73

THE SCHOOL BOY'S DREAM SCREAM QUEEN
I was saddened to hear of Ingrid Pitt's passing this morning. Ingrid, who starred alongside Clint in (arguably) the greatest WWII adventure of all time, collapsed on her way to an event held by her loyal fans and just two days after her 73rd birthday. As an actress, she was a fan's dream. Ingrid was a regular on the convention and film fair circuit. Warm, courteous and utterly charming, Ingrid was always happy to involve and welcome you with that beautiful smile that left you melting. I was lucky enough to have met her on several occasions and she was always a delight.
Below: Ingrid during the filming of Where Eagles Dare

Born Ingoushka Petrov in Poland in 1937, she survived imprisonment in a concentration camp during the Second World War. On the night she planned to make her stage debut, she found herself under threat from the Communist East German authorities. After jumping into the River Spree to escape them, she was rescued by an American soldier, who became her first husband. In the early 1960s Pitt was a member of the prestigious Berliner Ensemble, under the guidance of Bertolt Brecht's widow Helene Weigel. In 1965 she made her film debut in Doctor Zhivago, playing a minor role. In 1968 she co-starred in the low budget science fiction film The Omegans and in the same year played in Where Eagles Dare opposite Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood.

Above: Ingrid as Heidi alongside Richard Burton in Where Eagles Dare.
It was her work with Hammer Film Productions that elevated her to cult figure status. She starred in The Vampire Lovers (1970), a film based on Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's novella Carmilla, and Countess Dracula (1971), a film based on the legends around Countess Elizabeth Báthory. Pitt also appeared in the Amicus Horror Anthology film The House That Dripped Blood (1971) and had a small part in the cult film The Wicker Man (1973).
Below: Ingrid as Countess Dracula

Ingrid's daughter, Steffanie Pitt said: "She passed away this morning. It was heart trouble. She was a fantastic person." She added: "She had a couple of bad years, health-wise, but she had fought through. She'll be sorely missed." Steffanie said she wanted her mother to be remembered as the Countess Dracula with the "wonderful teeth and the wonderful bosom".
She relished being cast as predatory baddies, rather than innocent victims. Film historian Marcus Hearn, said: "She was partly responsible for ushering in a bold and brazen era of sexually explicit horror films in the 1970s, but that should not denigrate her abilities."

Above: Ingrid was proud to be recognised as the sexy scream queen
Robin Hardy, the director of The Wicker Man, said "She was a very attractive person in every sense. She was a perfectly good actress but a very decent person as well, not that those two things don't often go together."
Later in her life, she published many books and toured the film fair and convention scene regularly. Ingrid seemed to radiate enjoyment when it came to meeting her fans and seemingly relished sharing a joke with them. Our thoughts are naturally with her husband Tony and their family. Ingrid will be sorely missed by many.
Below: Ingrid in later years, like the countess she retained an enigmatic beauty


~The Clint Eastwood Archive~

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Hereafter opened this week stateside

Yes, Clint notched up another release this week with Hereafter. It's astonishing how quickly Clint's films come around and is reflective of his continued proficiency and professionalism as a film maker. I will be posting reviews here as I receive them from our US friends who still send in reviews. Incidentally, one of our friends Kevin was the US correspondent from way back in the days of the CEAS, so it is great to still have him around and so actively involved in the Eastwood scene. Thank you Kev.

Clint Squints at the Afterlife
At 80, this surprising director continues to throw us curves.
Davin Ansen October 7th 2010 Newsweek

Clint Eastwood flirted with the supernatural in his allegorical Western Pale Rider, but nothing in his career prepares us for his haunting and haunted Hereafter, a bold, strange, problematic investigation into the nature of the afterlife. At 80, he continues to throw us curves, abandoning the safety of genre for an unconventionally structured story about mortality, loneliness, and the relationship between the living and the dead.
Just to further mix things up, Eastwood opens his movie with the most spectacular action sequence he’s ever mounted—a terrifying tsunami wreaking havoc on a tropical island that would be the crowning achievement of any epic disaster movie. Here it’s more a stunning feat of misdirection, for the tale that follows is intimate and often hushed.
Caught in the tsunami is the first of the three characters whose fates Hereafter follows, a French television host (Cécile De France) who dies in the storm and then miraculously comes back to life. But her glimpse of the beyond makes it impossible for her to reenter her old life as a Parisian celebrity; instead, she becomes obsessed with writing a book about the eerily similar after-death experiences others have endured, a pursuit that costs her credibility in the eyes of her sophisticated friends. As her unhappy publisher notes, it’s a topic more suited to the American market.
The second strand in Peter Morgan’s screenplay concerns George (Matt Damon), a reclusive psychic who can communicate with the dead—a gift he’s come to regard as a curse. Though his ambitious brother (Jay Mohr) wants him to parlay this talent into a fortune, George has withdrawn into a blue-collar job and a solitary existence in San Francisco.
We are then transported to London, where a tragic accident separates young London school-boy Marcus (Frankie McLaren) from his beloved twin brother. Desperately lonely, and packed off to foster parents when his junkie mother goes into rehab, Marcus tries every quack telepathist in London, searching for a way to connect to his lost sibling.
This material couldn’t be further from the reality-inspired political dramas (
Frost/Nixon, The Queen) that made Morgan’s name. Much of the movie’s tension comes from wondering how these three stories are going to connect, but Morgan’s plot mechanics—which grind all too noisily in the London section of the story, and serve up a tidy finale that seems oddly beside the point—are not the film’s real strength. What keeps us rapt are the mysterious and provocative questions Hereafter raises, questions that Eastwood and Morgan know can’t be definitively answered.
Clearly, at this point in his life, questions of mortality aren’t far from Eastwood’s mind, and you can feel his identification with these characters, whose encounters with death both separate them from the rest of the living and give them a sense of urgent purpose. Damon, with his understated but deeply felt performance, and the wonderfully versatile De France supply the movie’s aching soul. And Eastwood keeps it honest. Hereafter confronts a topic that could have descended into mawkish, mystical hokum, but not in Eastwood’s no-nonsense, uncynical hands. He looks at death, and beyond, with clear, open, inquisitive eyes.

Hereafter October 18th 2010 by David Denby The New Yorker
Clint Eastwood’s “Hereafter” begins with a magnificent re-creation of the 2004 tsunami as it hits an unnamed resort town in Southeast Asia. An initially receding ocean returns as a thick, unstoppable wave that surges ashore and rushes down a street, washing away buildings, tossing cars as if they were sticks, and knocking down a French tourist, Marie (Cécile de France), who then gets clobbered by a piece of metal and appears to be sinking to her death. The sequence was brought off with a combination of actual ocean waves, watery turmoil in a film-studio tank, and digital enhancement, and it entirely overwhelms the rather pallid movie that follows. Marie survives and attempts to resume her career as a broadcast journalist in Paris, only to discover that she is haunted by a vision that she had as she came close to dying—a shimmering impression of blurry figures standing in a whitish light. Peter Morgan’s script places Marie’s story between two parallel narratives: In London, Jason, one of a pair of adorable young twin boys (who are played by the twins George and Frankie McLaren), is hit by a truck and killed, and his brother, Marcus, looks for a means of communicating with him. In San Francisco, George (Matt Damon) has exactly the kind of necromantic powers that Marcus requires. George can summon the recent dead just by grabbing the hands of someone in mourning; he sees white light and shadowy figures, too. He’s not a swindler—he wants to provide solace to the grief-stricken. Yet he’s oppressed by his skills, which link him with the dead but leave him no life of his own.
As George, Matt Damon stays all too faithfully in character. He’s puffy-looking and blockish and he doesn’t have a spark in him, not even a flicker of anger at the strange ability that is destroying George’s life. It’s the first boring performance of Damon’s career, although the bland inertia may not be his fault. The way Eastwood stages the “readings,” they hold no terror for George. After grasping a grieving person’s hands for a second, he makes his report from the netherworld—benevolent messages from the dead, who are eager to help the living with useful advice. Have none of them had any traffic with the Devil? Or even a malevolent thought? The messages are inane. Eastwood clearly wanted to avoid routine scare techniques and the banalities of “atmosphere”—he didn’t want to make a fantastic fiction like “The Sixth Sense.” But the communications with the dead went by without raising a single goose bump on this suggestible viewer’s skin.
Eastwood hasn’t worked out the movie emotionally: Marie, lapsing out of her job, just seems vague, as if she had lost her mind as well as her will to work. Eastwood does better with the twins, who are charming, and he shows a touching sympathy for the difficulties of working-class and middle-class life, giving us brief portraits of the boys’ loving but drug-addicted mother and the helpful foster parents who take Marcus in. The movie has long stretches of pleasant, low-intensity narrative, with people going in and out of buildings and climbing stairs and reading letters, and so on, but it never develops the slightest urgency. Peter Morgan, who wrote such shrewd and worldly movies as “The Queen” and “Frost/Nixon,” seems to have fallen into a trance himself. He first had the idea for the script when he lost a close friend in an accident. “We can be so close to somebody, know everything about them, share everything with them, and then they’re gone and suddenly we know nothing,” he has said. The bafflement that comes with loss is certainly a strong enough emotion to get a story moving, but, by turning to spiritualism, visions, and the afterlife, Morgan has wandered into hokum without illuminating grief. Most of the movie is not about what the dead mean to the living; it’s about having nice little chats with ghosts, and neither Eastwood nor Morgan has the taste for such flamboyant stuff. The two men have accomplished the questionable feat of domesticating the uncanny, and, in the process, they’ve lost their storytelling skills—the coincidences that bring the main characters together by the end are laughably unconvincing.
If the filmmakers’ first folly was to turn to spiritualism, the second was to prop up spiritualism with pseudoscience. Marie journeys to a French mountain clinic, from which the veteran actress Marthe Keller, playing a doctor in a white coat, emerges as some sort of Alpine guru. She tells Marie that many people have experienced visions as they approach death. Marie then writes a book and becomes a fighter, combatting prejudice against the visionary. “Hereafter” begins with a mighty wave but ends in a trickle of self-righteousness.


He Sees Dead People: Clint Eastwood’s Still Got It With Hereafter
By Rex Reed
October 12, 2010 The New York Observer
Shifting gears to a softer, gauzier mood, Clint Eastwood's Hereafter finds the masterful icon charting new terrain. Slavish fans of his rugged westerns, left-wing war canvases and kidney-punch gangster epics may be appalled to find him in a reflective frame of mind about life after death and the supernatural. Romantic confections with soft marshmallow centers are not his strong suit (remember the godawful Bridges of Madison County?), but not to worry. The grizzled director does not appear in it, and there is nothing awkward or mawkish about it. Hereafter might be tender, but in no way is it the work of a tenderfoot. It's a change of pace, but it exemplifies every carefully honed aspect of the treasured director's craft. Besides, Mr. Eastwood has earned the right to make any kind of movie he wants (at unthinkable expense), and when a man reaches his midnight years, it's perfectly understandable that he starts contemplating the afterlife.

With an intriguing screenplay by Peter Morgan that is worlds away from his political, character-driven biopics like The Queen and Frost/Nixon, the surprising and often insightful Hereafter follows three separate but parallel narratives set in Paris, San Francisco and London, connected by a thin metaphysical thread involving a reluctant psychic (Matt Damon); it remains compelling and artfully constructed throughout. Losing none of his grip at 80, the director opens with a spectacular, jaw-dropping scene in a peaceful Indian Ocean beach resort suddenly overwhelmed and wiped away by the disaster and destruction of the 2004 tsunami. Marie (Cecile de France), a vacationing French television reporter, is shopping for souvenirs when she is swept away by the mighty waves and knocked unconscious. While two strangers try to save her, she drifts into an otherworldly vision of "the other side." Even after she is revived, she returns to Paris transformed by her near-death experience.
Cut to San Francisco, where George (Damon), a nervous factory worker, tries vainly to escape his past as a psychic by working as a hard hat. Having developed his ability to communicate with the dead after almost dying from a brain operation as a child, he now regards this talent as more of a curse than a gift. Avoiding people for fear of reading their minds, he searches for a new, pleasurable chapter in his life by enrolling in a 10-week night-school course in Italian cooking. (Picture Matt Damon, clumsily chopping garlic for arrabiata sauce.) Unavoidably, he takes a shine to another student trying to jump-start her life (Bryce Dallas Howard), but when she finds out about his secret talent and insists on a reading, he sees things in her life and tells her truths that drive her away.
Meanwhile, in England, twin brothers Marcus and Jason (remarkably well played by Frankie and George McLaren) try to cover for their junkie mother while social workers threaten to turn them over to government child-protection services. Ambushed by bullies and chased into the street, Jason is hit and killed by a truck, leaving Marcus grieving and haunted by the loss. Marie, George and little Marcus have all been touched by death in different ways, and Mr. Eastwood does a fascinating job of cutting between stories while the characters seek peace and solace from their painful memories. In Paris, Marie takes a leave of absence from her job as a TV reporter after going blank on the air, blacking out after recurring visions of the moments when she was pronounced drowned, and writes a book about psychic phenomena. In England, Marcus makes the rounds of spiritual hacks in a desperate need to communicate with his dead brother, disillusioned until he reads about George on an old Web site. The three stories finally meld in London, where George goes to get away from his brother, who's nagging him to form a business capitalizing on his powers; Marie is appearing there on a book tour. Marcus follows George back to his hotel from a book fair. The denouement seems contrived and not entirely comfortable, and I hoped for a more convincing finale from the astute Peter Morgan than the creaky and fractured ending pictured here. Still, Mr. Eastwood covers his bases; there is even a healthy dose of skepticism throughout, and I admire the way the film is in no hurry to move things along briskly. We get to know and like the characters before we rush to judgment. The actors do well enough by the material, although Mr. Damon's pleasant but meaningless voice, unsupported by the kind of depth he showed in his best film, The Talented Mr. Ripley, deprives him of any human dimensions. Yet he still makes you believe him, working from sheer impulse.
People expecting clever, arty editing or tricky camera movements will be almost as disappointed as those anticipating a smash ending with special effects. (The big effects are all in the tsunami sequence.) Still, there is plenty of excitement and pulse in Hereafter, as well as a reluctance to provide easy answers to life's great mysteries. I'm happy to see a great director take on the challenge of new and different material with his customary grace and impressive two-fisted technique intact. In the cinema, like the Cordon Bleu, cooking up elegance without fluff is always welcome, and Mr. Eastwood is a master chef.



Above: Clint, left, with Peter Morgan who wrote the screenplay for Hereafter
The Other Side of Clint
Hereafter, speaking through dead people, says a lot about Eastwood the director.
By
David Edelstein Published Oct 8, 2010 New York Magazine
Clint Eastwood’s supernatural drama Hereafter starts big and ends small, its hold gradually slackening, its thread dissolving. To be honest, it never had much of a thread. The film introduces three main characters in three different countries, cutting among them more or less at random, laying the groundwork for what we hope will be a killer last act in which they all come together and … what? Cross over to the “other side”? Welcome the dead in a Close Encounters mother ship? No, it’s not that kind of movie. Hereafter occupies some muzzy twilight zone, too woo-woo sentimental to be real, too limp to make for even a halfway decent ghost story.
The picture has one indisputably boffo scene, and it comes at the start: A tsunami smashes into a Southeast Asian beach resort, sweeping through the town and carrying off (among many others) a French TV reporter, Marie (Cécile de France), who gets conked on the head and appears to die. It’s an amazing piece of filmmaking, and not just because of the special effects. Eastwood’s camera remains at street level, watching the wave as it rushes closer and closer, getting picked up and carried along with Marie. The sequence is such a tour de force that it’s heartbreaking when Marie—who’s not dead but not not-dead—has a vision of the afterlife that looks like the old TV promos for Lost, with actors (in this case all streaky and whited-out) at various distances staring into the camera. It gets so tacky so fast.
In San Francisco, meanwhile, Matt Damon’s George abandons a lucrative career as a John Edward–style medium because he can’t handle the pressure that comes with being a conduit to the hereafter. Although he sounds like a typically bogus cold reader—“I’m seeing a woman with dark hair: Is that right?”—he’s supposed to be the real McCoy, a man who can grasp someone’s hand and see … those blurry Lost promos.
The final protagonist is Marcus (played by both George and Frankie McLaren), a working-class London boy whose twin brother, Jason (also played by George and Frankie—a curious casting gimmick that pays off), gets chased by bullies into the street and run over by a car. Snatched away from his junkie mom and placed in foster care, the bereft Marcus, who always let Jason make the decisions, Googles in anguish for someone to help him talk to his brother, preferably on a daily basis. A couple of clicks and there’s George.
Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon) said he wrote Hereafter after losing a close friend and longing—as we all do, at some point—to make contact with “the other side.” That, of course, is how unscrupulous charlatans earn seven-figure incomes. But while Morgan is careful to show us some phonies—cold readers asking questions that are bound to elicit “hits”—he’s firmly in the camp that says, “Hey, it’s possible.” Given that early in the film, the existence of an afterlife is firmly established and George’s powers are proved authentic, there’s little left for the movie to do but bring him and Marcus and Marie (now also plagued by Lost promos) together. And that’s exactly what happens—in about an hour.
As usual with Eastwood, the performances are all over the map. Damon is so self-effacing you can almost see Eastwood’s visage superimposed over his, the mole supernaturally shifted from the right side to the left. A long section of the film centers on George and an effusive young woman he meets in an Italian cooking class, which is meant to show how his links to the dead inevitably sabotage his connection with the living. But watching Bryce Dallas Howard madly overact—she looks like she wants to ravish him over his cutting board—while Damon stares at her in a semi-stupor, you wonder if the scene is meant to be played as farce. The final scene, in which George is suddenly able to see the future as well as the dead, is just plain bewildering.
My impression is that Eastwood—while revered by many as a premier auteur with a strong personal vision—picks scripts he likes and shoots them pretty much as they are; and when a script is, like Morgan’s, badly in need of a polish and minus a satisfying windup, he’ll shoot it anyway and figure the lapses will be viewed as powerful artistic choices attributable to his laid-back, jazz-inflected style. That seems to be the case with Hereafter, which closed the New York Film Festival and has already been hailed as a masterly summing-up of his long career—although what Morgan’s first-draft stab at a crossing-over weepie has to do with the rest of Eastwood’s oeuvre is a mystery as unfathomable as what happens after death.
 Rolling Stone magazine, Peter Travers, Oct 14th 2010
In more than half a century of making movies, Clint Eastwood, 80, has sent many a varmint to his maker. Hereafter is the first time he's showed any curiosity about what lies on the other side. It's typical of Eastwood's mastery as a director that his approach to the topic is introspective, not inflammatory.
Though Hereafter begins with a stunningly staged tsunami, it's the quiet moments that draw us in. Matt Damon excels as George Lonegan, a San Francisco construction worker who has turned his back on his psychic gifts. George doesn't want to talk to the dead. But even the babe (Bryce Dallas Howard) he meets in cooking class pushes him. So does Marcus, a London lad who wants to commune with his dead twin, Jason (both twins are played by George and Frankie McLaren). Then there's Paris TV journalist Marie LeLay (the excellent Cécile De France), whose near-death experience in the tsunami provides a link to George.
Eastwood hits narrative bumps on this atypical spiritual journey, as does politics-obsessed screenwriter Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon). No worries. It's exhilarating to watch these two talents explore new ground without bias or trendy cynicism. Hereafter, set to a resonant Eastwood score, truly is haunting.

Eastwood's pensive 'Hereafter' is a matter of death and life
By
Claudia Puig, USA TODAY
A tsunami looms both realistically and as a metaphor for the overwhelming surge of emotion rising from below the surface in the haunting Hereafter.
A meditation on mortality, the movie deftly interweaves the stories of three people in different countries, who have in common their exploration of death and the mysteries surrounding it. This is no tale of paranormal activity. It offers no clear-cut answers on life after death. Rather, it calmly examines death, grief and melancholy, packing an unexpectedly profound emotional gut-punch.
Blending the mystical with the multinational,
Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon) has crafted an intimate, thought-provoking, dialogue-driven story, directed masterfully by Clint Eastwood.
There are a few glitches in this ambitious globe-spanning narrative, mostly having to do with too much time and detail spent on less-than-integral relationships. But the main performances are subtly compelling.
Matt Damon plays George, a lonely San Francisco man who tries mightily to deny his rare ability to hear dead people. He's somehow a conduit for the thoughts and feelings of the deceased, an ability he regards as a curse. A good-natured man seeking to forge a normal life, he makes a tentative romantic connection with Melanie (Bryce Dallas Howard), but he can't escape his otherworldly "gift." Damon is superbly understated in the role.
Marie (Cecile de France) narrowly survives a tsunami while on vacation in Indonesia with her married boyfriend, Didier (Thierry Neuvic). After losing consciousness and sputtering back to life, Marie is consumed with her near-death experience. Upon returning to her native Paris, she abandons her work as a journalist so she can find answers to what she endured. De France's nuanced portrayal conveys both strength and vulnerability.
London schoolboy Marcus (Frankie McLaren) is stricken with grief after the unexpected death of his twin brother, Jason (George McLaren). Desperate to connect and learn whether there's an afterlife, Marcus delves into a world of psychics and charlatans. Both young actors give deeply moving and surprisingly mature performances.
An early scene of the roiling tsunami is awe-inspiring for its computer-generated special-effects muscle. The rest of the film is much more contemplative. Eastwood never rushes a story, even amid exhilarating action scenes. For some, the unfolding of the intertwined tales may be too languid. But the narrative's complexity has a quiet force that requires an unhurried pace. Our compassion for each of the key characters is enhanced by the measured storytelling.
The idea has been repeatedly put forth that Hereafter represents the 80-year-old Eastwood's contemplation of his own mortality. Perhaps. But you don't have to be an octogenarian to be fascinated with what comes after life as we know it.
Hereafter is a pensive saga that transcends death and lyrically examines our darkest fears and our most deeply held beliefs.
 The Dead Have Messages for the Land of the Living
By
A. O. SCOTT
Published: October 14, 2010 NEW YORK TIMES
The afterlife is not necessarily where you would expect to find Clint Eastwood, who at 80 shows no signs of tiring out or settling down. His latest film, “Hereafter,” is at once recognizably his — in tone and atmosphere — and a startling departure from his previous work.

Death has never been a stranger in Mr. Eastwood’s cinematic universe: the lone riders and taciturn gunmen that defined his heroic phase as an actor were frequently pitiless avatars of mortality, and the grave has often been the horizon toward which both the righteous and the wicked in his movies are drawn. But like most filmmakers working outside the genres of horror or sudsy religious comedy, Mr. Eastwood has shown little inclination to point his camera beyond that horizon.
Nor is
Peter Morgan, who wrote the screenplay for “Hereafter,” known to have much of a spiritual or supernatural bent. His specialty — marvelously evident in “The Deal,” “Frost/Nixon,” “The Queen” and “The Damned United” — has been the prickly interactions of living people in a decidedly secular world. The closest Mr. Morgan has come to a ghost story may be “The Queen,” but only if you imagine it from the perspective of the recently departed Diana, Princess of Wales, flitting unseen through limbo, raising a spectral eyebrow at the consternation she has caused her mother-in-law by dying in such dramatically inconvenient fashion.
One of the reasons that “Hereafter” works as well as it does — it has the power to haunt the skeptical, to mystify the credulous and to fascinate everyone in between — may be that its subject matter is so clearly alien to the sensibilities of its makers.
Communication with the dead is a risky business, principally because once the door to the beyond opens a tiny crack, all kinds of maudlin nonsense come rushing in.
But one of Mr. Eastwood’s great and undersung strengths as a director is his ability to wade into swamps of sentimental hokum and come out perfectly dry. Directed by anyone else,
“The Bridges of Madison County”would most likely have been as unbearable as the book on which it was based. “Million Dollar Baby,” though derived from much better source material, walked through a minefield of clichés and emerged as a masterpiece.
“Hereafter” does not land with the clean, devastating force of either of those movies. Instead, it is quiet, gorgeous and contemplative. Mr. Eastwood’s longtime cinematographer, Tom Stern, composes a world of rich, deep shadows and heavy, saturated colors, making you aware of encroaching darkness, but also of the intense, almost tactile beauty of existence. The inhabitants of this world — ordinary people whose plans and expectations are knocked off course by intimations of an afterlife — have a fine-grained individuality that makes you care even if, from time to time, you have trouble believing.
The film follows three independent story lines, which converge (not quite convincingly) only at the last moment, and each involves a collision between the living and the dead. In San Francisco, a man named George Lonegan (
Matt Damon) suffers with a gift that feels, to him, more like a curse. His ability to receive messages from the dead loved ones of anyone he touches once made him a nice living, but despite the pleas of his entrepreneurial brother (Jay Mohr), George has chosen a life of obscurity and manual labor.

In London, Marcus, a melancholy young boy, intuits the presence of his twin brother, Jason, whose violent death has left Marcus adrift in a world where compassion and indifference are hard to tell apart. (The brothers are played by George and Frankie McLaren.) And in Paris, Marie Lelay (Cécile de France), a television journalist who survived the 2004 tsunami, is convinced that her near-death experience in that catastrophe showed her a metaphysical reality that the rest of the world is blindly determined to ignore.
This kind of braided plot, almost unavoidable in the superstitious age of
“Babel” and “Crash,” may be as surprising, coming from Mr. Eastwood, as the large-scale, computer-generated tsunami sequence that snaps the audience to horrified attention early in the film. At the same time, there is an austerity in “Hereafter” that keeps the melodramatic possibilities latent in the script safely at bay. Mr. Eastwood’s stripped-down, highly efficient approach to storytelling serves as an anchor to the busy narrative and the complicated visuals, and perhaps the most gratifying thing about “Hereafter” is its patience.
You would not want a movie about death to be in too much of a hurry, and Mr. Eastwood lingers over scenes and details that curl away from the plot. A meeting in the boardroom of a French publishing house, at which Marie proposes a book on the life and times of
François Mitterrand, the former president of France, is both perfectly irrelevant and completely engrossing as a snapshot of Gallic politique.
George, cautiously trying to shake off his gloom and find a social life, enrolls in a cooking class, where he meets Melanie (
Bryce Dallas Howard), a young woman who seems as eager to fall in love with him as he is reluctant to believe it. Their early flirtations, delicate and funny with a palpable ache of longing, dispel the gloom and portent that linger around George, offering him a tantalizing peek at what a normal life might look like.
Normal life, in the terms proposed by this film, might be defined as existence pursued in a state of studied incuriosity about what comes next. What gives “Hereafter” its strange, unsettling mood and its curious momentum is the growing tension between this relatively happy state and the sense, shared by Marie, Marcus and George, that what comes next lies at once close at hand and beyond the reach of any organized system of beliefs.
Persuasion is not really the point, though if anyone could make me believe in ghosts, it would be Clint Eastwood. And the afterlife itself remains, throughout the film, a vague, conjectural place, a zone of speculation rather than a freshly discovered and surveyed continent. The fuzzy digital ghosts that occasionally flutter across the screen are more symbolic placeholders than literal apparitions. Something seems to be out there, and cinematic technology provides an available shorthand to indicate its presence.
What does seem new — newly strange, newly beautiful — is what “Hereafter” makes of the here and now. It is a curious movie in both senses of the word: an unusual experience and an open-ended inquiry into something nobody can really claim to understand. It leaves you wondering, which may be the most fitting way of saying that it’s wonderful.

Here’s a nice feature from the New York Times that ties in with Hereafter.
Eastwood Breaks Another Mold
By CHARLES McGRATH Published: October 13, 2010

ALMOST every fall lately, it seems, Clint Eastwood drops a little surprise on the moviegoing public: an unheralded, modestly budgeted film about a subject that hardly seems to fit the Eastwood mold. In 2004 there was “Million Dollar Baby,” about a female boxer; in 2008 there was “Gran Torino,” about a bigoted Korean War vet, played by Mr. Eastwood himself, who forms an unlikely, heartwarming friendship with a young Hmong boy. His latest film, “Hereafter,” which opened Friday in New York and will be released nationwide a week later, ventures into supernatural territory, which is about the last place you’d expect to find Mr. Eastwood. “Hereafter” concerns itself with just what the title suggests: what we can look forward to after we die.
Mr. Eastwood is 80 now, and his film immortality, as both an actor and a director, is assured. He has never seemed remotely spiritual. His trademark characters —
Dirty Harry and the Man with No Name, and even Walt Kowalksi, the “Gran Torino” vet — all face death squarely and unflinchingly, without a lot of hand wringing about what happens on the other side. “Hereafter,” though, weaves together the stories of three people who have death on their minds pretty much all the time: a French journalist (Cécile de France) who has a near-death experience during the 2004 tsunami; a reluctant psychic (Matt Damon) who has visions of the afterlife; and a London schoolboy (Frankie McLaren) who is desperate to get in touch with his dead twin brother. They all meet, and their stories connect, at the London Book Fair, of all places. No one gets shot, no blows are exchanged.
Has Mr. Eastwood, famously flinty and cold-eyed, at long last gone squishy? On the phone recently he sounded mellow but not mushy.
“Everyone has had these thoughts pass across his mind once in a while,” he said. “Is there an afterlife? What’s it like? All the great religions have tried to deal with these questions.” He added that what he liked about the script is that “it has a spiritual feeling without any particular religious touch.”
But mostly what appealed to him about “Hereafter” was the storytelling. “I liked the way the script took contemporary events like the tsunami and the London terrorist bombings and used them in a story that tapped into a general curiosity about the hereafter and whether it exists,” he said. “I liked the way the three tales all converged. That’s something I had never tried before. And the reticent hero is always interesting, the hero who doesn’t appreciate the gift he has.”
“Hereafter” was written by
Peter Morgan, better known for his films about British royalty — “The Queen,” “The Other Boleyn Girl” — and for his play “Frost/Nixon,” which he later turned into a movie as well. His involvement in a project about the afterlife is in many ways even more remarkable than Mr. Eastwood’s, and his script, as it happens, underwent a near-death experience and then a resurrection.
“How did this come about? I have no idea, really,” Mr. Morgan said from his car while stuck in traffic in Vienna, where he lives part of the year and does almost all of his writing. “I am a person of the Enlightenment, as it were.”
What prompted “Hereafter,” he went on to say, was the book “If the Spirit Moves You: Life and Love After Death,” by Justine Picardie, a British journalist devastated by the premature death of her sister, Ruth. At once hopeful and skeptical, she visited spiritualists, mediums and people who claimed to be able to record the voices of the dead and examined her own experience of bereavement. “I was just gripped by it,” Mr. Morgan said of the book. “It made me realize that we know so much of life before birth, and so little about life after death.”
Normally an obsessive outliner and reviser, he began writing a screenplay without any clear idea of where it was going. “So much of what I usually do offers solution or explanations, but this time I wanted to write something open ended,” he said. “I didn’t want answers. I wanted to ask questions.”
The first character he imagined was Marcus, the twin who lost his brother, and then the two others, the journalist and the psychic, quickly suggested themselves. “I was writing instinctively, almost in sketch mode,” he said. “It was all so spare and skeletal that the pages were very white.”
He put the script away for a while, but after a close friend died unexpectedly, he picked it up again. “That really startled me,” he said of his friend’s death. “In the church I kept thinking: ‘Now what? Where? What’s happened?’ ”
Hoping just for a reaction, he passed the script to his agent, who instead sent it off to the producer
Kathleen Kennedy (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Jurassic Park”). Seeing a resemblance to “The Sixth Sense,” she in turn showed it to the director of that film, M. Night Shyamalan. Later she happened to be on the soundstage of “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” while talking to Mr. Shyamalan on the phone, and she was overheard by Steven Spielberg, who according to Mr. Morgan said, “I like the sound of that.” He liked the sound of it so much that he read the screenplay and made extensive notes, which Mr. Morgan immediately addressed in a revision.
But Mr. Spielberg thought the revision was not as “humble” or “pure” as the original, Mr. Morgan said. “He told me, ‘I think I’ve ruined your screenplay.’ Then he said, ‘Can I show it to my friend Clint?’ ”
“So now we’re really in the realm of the absurd,” Mr. Morgan said. A couple of months later he was further bewildered when he learned that Mr. Eastwood, who had purchased the rights to “Hereafter,” was already filming off the original script. Though known for writing on spec and resisting the traditional development process, Mr. Morgan had been looking forward to working with Mr. Eastwood.
“I imagined we’d have all sorts of conversations about the characters, about the plot,” he said. “But we never did. What you see on the screen is this thing I wrote very sketchily in the mountains of Austria.”
Mr. Eastwood said he typically works this way. “I believe very strongly in first impressions,” he explained. “When something hits you and excites your interest, there’s really no reason to kill it with improvements.” He even resisted the idea of having
Penélope Cruz play the female lead, because it meant changing the character from a French journalist to a Spanish one.
“Clint is incredibly instinctive,” Mr. Morgan said, “and he’s anti-neurosis. It’s like antimatter. He’s totally without neurosis. The set of ‘Hereafter’ was one of happiest places I’ve ever been. It comes from trusting yourself and eliminating fear.”
Referring to
Ron Howard, who directed the film version of “Frost/Nixon,” he continued: “Ron is the same way. He’s completely at home on a movie set, and I think it comes from practically growing up there. He and Clint are rather like sailors from a bygone century. They come into port every now and then, but really they live on the ship. They’re seafarers.”
Movie review: 'Hereafter'
Clint Eastwood explores death and the beyond through three stories with solid performances by Matt Damon and Cécile de France.
By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
October 15, 2010

Death is the barrier we can't get around, an eternal void burdening those among the living who yearn for those who are gone. What would it mean if we could communicate with the other side, or even just be sure it existed?That is the theme of the haunting "Hereafter," the latest work from Clint Eastwood, which presents a trio of stories having to do with what might be on that far side and how it relates to the world we know.Over the years, Eastwood has very much become a director we expect to deliver the unexpected, and he's done that here. Hollywood once upon a time made films exploring these kinds of issues, but in today's climate only a filmmaker like Eastwood, determined to never do the same thing twice, would have the nerve and the clout to take it on.
Though its subject matter is unusual, the compelling thing about "Hereafter" is the way it places spiritual themes squarely in the kind of Hollywood context that attracts stars like
Matt Damon and top Belgian actress Cécile de France. What's surprising and satisfying about this film are its determination to deal with unconventional material in a classical way."Hereafter" was also a departure for screenwriter Peter Morgan, best known for fact-based stories like "Frost/Nixon" and "The Queen." He apparently wrote the script after the death of a friend and, because it was so out of the ordinary for him, put it away for years.Morgan's script turns out to be a fine match for Eastwood's fluid, unassuming directing style. His direct, unadorned approach pares everything down to its essence, the better to express the core of the narrative in the most direct and effective way possible. This is quiet but potent filmmaking that believes nothing is more important than the story it has to tell.Actually, it is three stories that are told, and "Hereafter" begins by providing a wonderful sense of uncertainty, giving us the gift of not knowing where these tales are going and whether or not they will have things in common besides dealing with death and the beyond. Like the similarly affecting "Never Let Me Go," "Hereafter" is best approached with as little specific information as possible.The first story introduces us to a French couple, unmarried lovers and professional colleagues, vacationing in Indonesia. Marie (De France, who appeared in "Mesrine") is a journalist who leaves her napping companion to get some last-minute shopping done.This small excursion takes a nightmarish turn when, in a formidable piece of special effects work — orchestrated by visual effects supervisor Michael Owens, effects house Scanline and editors Joel Cox and Gary Roach — Marie gets caught in a monstrous tsunami.Eastwood's team makes this wall of water and Marie's near-death experience in it so convincing that it can't help but be deeply disturbing to watch, giving us more of a sense of what being trapped in a tsunami would actually be like than we may want. So it's easy to believe that once Marie returns to Paris, she finds herself disturbed by what happened and her glimpse of the beyond.Next up is Matt Damon's George, a blue-collar guy who operates a forklift in San Francisco and yearns for a normal life. For it turns out that George, rather like the Bible's Jonah, is a man fleeing from his calling. In a world of fakes and frauds, he is the genuine article, a psychic who is very much for real and gets authentic messages from the other side.But having the kind of gift that leads frantic people to invade your life day and night can be a terrible burden, especially when George meets a cute young woman ( Bryce Dallas Howard) he thinks of getting serious about. As he himself says, "A life that's all about death is no life at all."The film's third story is set in London and involves a set of identical twin schoolboys (George and Frankie McLaren) who run interference for their substance-abusing mother. Something happens in this family that demonstrates how the desperate need to communicate with the departed can take over the lives of those still living."Hereafter" cuts back and forth among these three stories in an increasingly gripping way. Especially involving as always is Damon, convincing as an everyman torn by the kinds of conflicts few people have to deal with. Can peace be made between the here and the hereafter? It's a question that can't be answered, but few directors have the ability to explore the possibilities as gracefully as this singular filmmaker approaching in his 80th year.


'Hereafter' among Clint Eastwood's best
Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle Movie Critic San Francisco Chronicle October 20, 2010 Wednesday, October 20, 2010

That Clint Eastwood has become a great filmmaker is something few would contest, yet the nature of his greatness is as surprising as it's little understood. You can talk about the pristine technique - the new film, "Hereafter," provides lots of examples. But what's much more fascinating and enriching is Eastwood's Olympian vision, the sympathetic and all-encompassing understanding of the pain and grandeur of life on earth.
This vision is consistent in Eastwood's late work, no matter who is doing the screenwriting, and it boggles the mind to realize that this is coming from a guy who, until he was about 60, was best known as an action hero. Make no mistake, Eastwood's directorial output, from "Mystic River" on, constitutes the 21st century's first cinematic marvel, and "Hereafter" is among the best things he has ever done.
Like Alejandro Inarritu's "Babel" and Wayne Kramer's "Crossing Over," "Hereafter" is an attempt to convey the bigness of life though a story involving disparate characters in different parts of the world. All three movies are responses to the interconnectedness of the world, but "Hereafter" is by far the most successful, partly because it has the best screenplay - by Peter Morgan ("The Queen") - and partly because it has a director who understands the difference between important and self-important.
Importance is earned, shot by shot, scene by scene. Self-importance is assumed, and is largely a matter of adopting an attitude and keeping a straight face. Eastwood takes us into the story from the opening shots. From a hotel, we see a beach resort, filmed with the kind of color saturation we might see in an old postcard. The effect is reassuring, but misleading. A vacationing French journalist (Cecile De France) goes into the village to buy presents. And suddenly, there's a rumbling, the sight of a rising wave, and within seconds, buildings are washed away, and cars, trucks and people are all caught in a rushing flood.
There have been tidal waves in movies before, but what makes this one so effective (aside from being perfectly realized on the technical end) is that Eastwood stays with De France. He doesn't show us an overview, so that we might get our bearings. Rather, we experience the catastrophe from one person's terrified and completely subjective vantage point. It's as close as you'll ever be to a tidal wave without getting wet.
"Hereafter" features three central characters that have been touched by death. The newswoman drowns and is revived. A construction worker (Matt Damon) in San Francisco is cursed with an ability to talk to the dead. (If he touches someone, he finds himself in communication with that person's dead relatives - so much for his love life.) And a little boy in London develops an all-consuming desire to talk to a recently deceased loved one. These stories play out separately, then gradually move toward one another.
Notice how every shot communicates something precise, whether it's plot detail or a thought or emotion. As an actor, Eastwood is used to breaking up a script into a succession of specific actions, and he does the same as a director. Such meticulousness serves his actors well and allows Eastwood to take his time within scenes and let them expand and feel lived in. He never wastes his audience's time, because he is always feeding it new information.
Eastwood's practical unwillingness to neglect any actor ends up giving "Hereafter" a humane essence: Everybody is important, not just Damon as the tortured psychic or De France as a breezy extrovert deepened by trauma. Thus, the little boy's mother (Lyndsey Marshal), is more than a desperate alcoholic, and
Bryce Dallas Howard gets to create a rich character as Melanie, the psychic's partner in a San Francisco cooking class - a young woman masking pain under a superficial facade that has become her personality.
The ironic result of all this meticulous care is that we don't see Eastwood's hand but rather have the illusion that this gallery of humanity is telling the story for him. It's the most self-effacing way to do great work, and it's an approach that couldn't be more suited to this material. The film's notion that people share a common destiny, that they're participating in some overarching order, that they're being watched over by a benevolent all-seeing understanding, doesn't need to be spelled out. It has its analogue and expression in Eastwood's technique.
He just tells the story, and we get it.

Eastwood looks to Hereafter
Director takes a let-the-viewer-decide approach in afterlife movie, which is gaining Oscar buzz
By PAUL WILNER Yahoo
Oct. 19, 2010

Carmel, Calif. - Needless to say, Clint Eastwood arrives at the Mission Ranch Inn without an entourage. No handlers required — nor, it is clear from his casual but confident demeanor, are they welcome. After exchanging pleasantries with the hotel manager - he owns the joint, after saving it from being torn down and replaced by condominiums in the early '80s - he settles down at a table in the restaurant to talk about his latest movie, Hereafter, written by Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon).
An interlocking tale of three characters in search of answers about the afterlife, it stars Matt Damon playing a blue-collar San Francisco psychic with an unwanted connection to the dead. Already mentioned as an Oscar contender, the film features a breakout performance by Belgian actress Cécile de France. She plays a French television journalist who has a near-death experience after surviving a tsunami in a CGI-enhanced opening sequence described by Time magazine as "the most exciting, expertly assembled flood scene in movie history." Under Eastwood's aegis, their stories connect with that of a London boy dealing with the death of his twin brother with almost paranormal agility.
Asked whether he was drawn to the subject because of his own aging, the 80-year-old auteur is having none of it.
If anything, he's more interested in the gender question. "Did your wife like the movie?" he asks. "Women seem to like to think about (the subject) more, whether they believe in the hereafter or not. I'm not sure what I think, but it's interesting to delve into. It's a what-if story, like most stories … I'd like to think I would have been attracted to this project 40 years ago. Of course, I had to prove myself as a movie actor first."
Organized religion is clearly not Eastwood's bag. His parents "were Protestant but belonged to no particular sect. If we lived in Redding, we went to a Methodist church, and in Oakland, a Presbyterian or interdenominational church. I lived in Hayward for a while with my grandmother because my parents were trying to get jobs, and in that era, they didn't have welfare or unemployment (so I) had to really scramble.
"I've always been, If I see it, I believe it," he said. "I guess it's an agnostic position. But it (the afterlife) is a subject people are curious about. I don't think I'm as curious about it as I was at a younger age, but I'm curious enough to do a story like this.
"I remember when I was very, very young; my dad took me in the Pacific Ocean off Santa Monica. I was riding on his shoulders, and a big wave came along and knocked him down, and me off him … It certainly wasn't a near-death experience like Cécile had in the movie, but I remember the colors vividly, being underwater and swirling around, as a panicky little kid. For an adult who knows they're in deep trouble, it's a whole other thing."
Matt Damon's character lives in a lonely guy apartment that doesn't seem too different from one of Dirty Harry's old abodes.
Although Damon's character was in Chicago in the original script, his scenes in Hereafter were shot in San Francisco for "very practical" reasons, Eastwood said.
"He became available in January and I said, 'January in San Francisco can be very nice. On the other hand, January in Chicago is not the best time to be there.' Selfishly, it's close to home, and I do have ties there …" But the lure of the past goes only so far.
After our talk, Eastwood headed to Los Angeles to work on a Dave Brubeck documentary airing on Turner Classic Movies on Dec. 6, Brubeck's 90th birthday, then to the New York Film Festival, which Hereafter closed, before taking a break.
Brief, of course.
He's already launched his next project, a biopic about J. Edgar Hoover and his sidekick Clyde Tolson, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, with a script by Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black. Will it address the rumors about Hoover and Tolson's relationship?
"Nobody knows," Eastwood said. "Some speculate that it was asexual, some that it wasn't. They'll have to draw their own conclusions. I'd rather have them do that, so you're not just throwing something at them, saying, 'This is what it was.'"
It's his credo: Show, don't tell.
"(Director) Don Siegel used to say, 'I've worked on so many movies where people have come in and wanted to kill it with improvements,'" he said. "I want to get that first impression from the actors. I may go back and do another take, and a take after that, but I don't want to tamper with things before I have a chance to see it."
The Hollywood veteran is, er, agnostic, about Hereafter's commercial potential.
"At this point in my life, I'm not going after some particular demographic to make money," he said. "I like telling adult stories; I guess I like telling stories I'd like to see."
"There are kids who can't go anywhere now without texting on BlackBerries. If people are going to see this movie, they should be willing to submerge themselves in it." He pauses. "If not, they should see something else."
At this point, it's ventured, Eastwood should be able to write his own ticket.
"Sometimes," he laughs. "If you wanted to do Dirty Harry coming out of retirement, they might jump a little higher than for Million Dollar Baby. They said, 'It's a movie about a girl boxer?' I said, 'No, it's a love story.'

 
Below: Hereafter was shown at the 48th New York Film Festival. Clint, Dina and Matt were there for the film's screening on Oct. 10th 2010


Clint talks about his movie Hereafter, Matt talks about Clint
GAYLE MacDONALD, Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010


Clint Eastwood pulls up a chair and slides his lean, 6-foot-4 frame alongside that of his friend Matt Damon, whom he slaps good-naturedly on the back. He’s here to chat about his latest film, Hereafter, a cinematic exploration of the eternal question: Is there life after death?

It’s a weighty subject for a balmy September afternoon. But before delving into the existentialist meat of it all, Eastwood cracks a joke about the real reason Damon initially turned down the lead role in this film.

“Sure, he’s been busy – busy siring children,” says Eastwood, who is referring to the fact that Damon and his wife, Luciana Barroso, are expecting their third child (she also has a daughter from an earlier marriage).

“But finally he acquiesced and came back [to us] after Christmas,” adds the 80-year-old. “So we shot his segment in San Francisco and then headed back to England to do the conclusion.”

Damon, who previously collaborated with Eastwood on the South African rugby film Invictus, simply grins at the older man seated to his left. Then he offers his explanation.

“I turned it down only because I didn’t think I could pull it off with this other movie [The Adjustment Bureau] on the go. Somehow all my stuff got crammed together,” he says. “But it all worked out. I love working with Clint. He’s decisive, he doesn’t dwell on things, and he keeps the train headed somewhere. Too often, directors fall into the trap of second-guessing and fiddling with something forever. Clint pulls the trigger and moves on.”

Dressed in a golf shirt and pressed pants, Eastwood comes across as a calm but still imposing guy. Unlike many celebrities who surround themselves with “their people,” Clint – as he introduces himself, with a firm handshake – prefers to saunter around the room, playing a jazzy ditty on a nearby piano, and later, grabbing a snack off a communal table of grub.

Despite his age, Eastwood remains one of this generation’s most prolific directors. Since his 1992 Oscar-winning film Unforgiven, he’s churned out 15 feature films. Hereafter is his 32nd as a director.

Damon, now 40, refers to Hereafter as “Clint Eastwood’s French film.” And there is no question the script is a cerebral departure for a man who normally focuses his camera on taut action and real-life grit.

Eastwood agrees it’s not his norm. But that, he adds, is precisely the point. Over the course of eight decades, he’s learned to like “trying on new things.

“I used to do sequels, but I’m past that. In my younger years I did more violent stuff, but now I’m concerned there’s too much violence in film,” says the man who played Dirty Harry. “But I liked the idea of telling three separate stories in one film. And I liked Peter Morgan’s script. This film explores the notion of an afterlife, but it doesn’t give any definitive answers.”

Hereafter follows three geographically disparate people who have been traumatized by close encounters with death. Damon is a Bay Area psychic, newcomer Frankie McLaren is a London youngster mourning the death of his twin, and Belgium-born actress Cécile de France is a Paris-based journalist whose life changes after she is almost killed in the 2004 tsunami.

Eastwood says the core of the story – filmed in London, Paris, Hawaii and San Francisco – is the simplest of questions: What’s next? “We don’t know what’s on the other side, but on this side, it’s final,” he says. “People have their beliefs about what’s there or what’s not there, but those are all hypotheticals. Nobody knows until you get there.”

“I’ve talked to people,” he adds, “who claim to have had near-death experiences, and they paint a similar picture. But I don’t know. I haven’t been there. And I don’t intend to go there before my time.”

Damon says Eastwood’s directorial style is as to-the-point as the man himself. “He gives the kind of direction that he would want as an actor. And he’s been acting longer than –”

“Don’t say God!” Eastwood interrupts, causing Damon to burst out laughing.

“I was going to say,” Damon continues, “he’s been acting longer than most of the actors he’s working with, so he’s got an immense amount of knowledge about how to do it, what’s helpful, what’s not helpful. As a director for 30 years, Clint also knows how to create an environment that works for his crew. He knows everybody’s jobs, and how to make it easier. As a result, everybody feels like they get to do their best work.”

“And he gets you home at a reasonable hour, too. I just wish he wouldn’t yell so much,” Damon adds.

Hereafter’s international cast also includes Jay Mohr, Bryce Dallas Howard, Marthe Keller, Thierry Neuvic and Derek Jacobi. Eastwood, an accomplished jazz pianist, composed much of the soundtrack for Hereafter. As he approaches his 81st birthday this May, Eastwood muses that now was likely “the right time” for him to finally take on a film about mortality. But he figures he’ll be around for a while yet.
“Hereafter explores life after death, but it also measures time. And in this MTV generation that we live in – where everything has to be immediate and over with – measuring time is something I still like to embrace,” he says, his weathered face crinkling into a grin.

Below: Hereafter U.S. Billboard

Friday, 1 October 2010

Vintage Clint Eastwood PSA 1969 for the Will Rogers Institute

We have been fortunate to see some wonderful vintage material of late and this new discovery continues to see that trend is set to continue. From 1969 here is a wonderful colour PSA which would have been circulated in cinemas at the time. More than $90 million has been raised in movie theaters across the country for pulmonary research, neonatal ventilators and free educational materials.
Thanks goes to The Will Rogers Institute. Please visit them at www.wrinstitute.org
Click below to view this great piece of historic film

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Warners release new Hereafter one sheet poster design

Yes, it's here at last. Here is the latest official poster release for all the Eastwood poster collectors out there. A rather striking design it is too. I'm hoping there will be variations on this design for other countries, something that is not done too often these days. As soon as I know of anything else, you'll know.

Below: The British quad poster for Hereafter 30x40
Below: A slight variation on the British design, but there was not much else used for the poster designs around the world.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Hereafter 2009 World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and NY Film Festival

Hereafter world Premiere
A drama centered on three people who are haunted by mortality in different ways. George (Damon) is a blue-collar American who has a special connection to the afterlife. On the other side of the world, Marie (de France), a French journalist, has a near-death experience that shakes her reality. And when Marcus (Frankie/George McLaren), a London schoolboy, loses the person closest to him, he desperately needs answers. Each on a path in search of the truth, their lives will intersect, forever changed by what they believe might-or must-exist in the hereafter.

Click below for U.S. Trailer


Eastwood nostalgic about 'Fistful of Dollars' as he shows 'Hereafter' at TIFF
By: Andrea Baillie, The Canadian Press

TORONTO - Screen legend Clint Eastwood unveiled his new drama "Hereafter" at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday 12th September, and recalled another premiere in the city over four decades ago.
"I came here originally (for) the first appearance I made for 'A Fistful of Dollars' 46 years ago," Eastwood said in an interview, looking trim and relaxed in grey pants and a light-coloured golf shirt.
"United Artists thought, at the time, that because Toronto (had) a large Italian population and (the film) was made by an Italian, Sergio Leone, that this would be a great place to come.... We opened it downtown in a theatre — I think it was probably about half full.... There's a great nostalgia there."
Eastwood, 80, has not premiered a film at the Toronto International Film Festival since 1990, when he was here with "White Hunter Black Heart."
He said there's no particular reason why he finally decided to return to Toronto, noting simply that the fest here is "well thought of" and that "it seemed like the thing to do."
"I'm glad to be here because you do get a lot of people who are very interested in cinema here in Toronto and that's nice," he said.
"Hereafter" stars Matt Damon as a blue-collar worker with a special connection to the afterlife. Three parallel storylines unfold in London, San Francisco and France, all involving characters who have lost loved ones or had brushes with death.
The film opens with a spectacular rendering of a tsunami (Eastwood's biggest foray into special effects to date), but after that mind-blowing sequence, the story unfolds at a slow and thoughtful pace.

Eastwood said he is drawn to that type of measured storytelling.
"In this MTV generation that we live in, I think it's something that I still like to embrace," he said.
"That we actually unfold the stories and get to know the people and get to know a little more detail about them, rather than play to the common denominator or the lack of attention span that sometimes people feel goes on now."
Damon's character is at the centre of the film — a no-nonsense psychic who regards his powers as a curse rather than a gift.
Eastwood and Damon forged a bond while filming the 2009 apartheid drama "Invictus."
Asked why he wanted to work with the actor again, Eastwood joked: "I've asked myself that question many times," before adding that he's long been a fan of Damon's work.
After a long and varied acting career, Eastwood, of course, has become a prolific director in recent years, helming Oscar contenders including "Mystic River," "Million Dollar Baby" and "Flags of Our Fathers."
Still, the plain-spoken movie-maker — who could be heard playing piano in the hotel lobby before a series of media interviews — gave little insight when asked how he creates such cinematic magic, chalking it up to "intuition."
Damon said Eastwood just makes it look easy.
"I think it's like any great artist or musician. It seems very simple and of course it's not because it's years of plying his trade.... Things feel intuitive but they're not."
Asked what he learned from working with Eastwood, however, Damon begged off.
"Too numerous to count," he said. "TNTC."
"The great thing about making movies is you can't perfect it," he added. "It's like golf or one of those things. It's just really fun because you learn something every single time out, whether it's working with a great director or whether it's working with a schmo, and you learn what not to do."
The weighty subject matter of "Hereafter" has many observers suggesting that Eastwood is contemplating his own mortality. The director, however, said he doesn't really have any theories about the afterlife.
"I've talked to people who claim to have had near-death experiences and they paint a similar picture, but I don't know. I mean I just haven't been there," he said.
"And I don't intend to go there before my time."
"Hereafter" is slated for release on Oct. 22.

Below: Clint and Dina at the world premiere in Toronto
Hereafter: Clint Eastwood Goes Supernatural
By
Richard Corliss, TIME, Monday, Sep. 13, 2010
Clint Eastwood's Hereafter opens with the most exciting, expertly assembled flood scene in movie history. A tsunami gathers force in its path toward an Asian beach resort, swatting a large ship as if it were a toy boat. Then it crashes on shore and pours through the town. Special-effects experts know that water is among the hardest computer-generated elements to render accurately, but this tsunami's power is utterly plausible. At Hereafter's world-premiere screening on Sunday at the Toronto Film Festival, the 1,500 spectators in the Elgin Theatre gasped as one — one frightened, enthralled child at the ultimate Saturday matinee.
What they saw was a scene whose editing builds the tsunami horror with urgency and clarity. It inundates viewers in the larger disaster while assuring that they keep track of the two characters they already know: Marie (Cecile de France), a popular anchorwoman on French TV, who's shopping in the resort village when the wave breaks and is swept away in the churning tide, and her boss and lover (Thierry Neuvic), back at their hotel. Marie is pulled underwater but surfaces, and seems to have survived, when —Whack! — she is knocked out. As she loses consciousness, she has a near blinding glimpse of shadowy figures in a tableau of radiance. She is thrown ashore, where two men desperately try to revive her, without success. A minute later, she spits out water. If she were dead then, she's back with the living now.
Eastwood movies don't usually boast moments like this: a CGI action scene so brilliantly managed that Michael Bay could only dream of having it on his résumé. Was the tsunami sequence mostly the work of second-unit directors and effects wizards? Or did Steven Spielberg, one of Hereafter's executive producers, lend his legendary gift for painting grand canvases of disaster that also show an acute attention to human detail? Even if the scene were all Eastwood's doing, it launches the movie with a wondrous blend of art, technique and entertainment. And it has almost nothing in common with the pensive, sprawling supernatural narrative that follows.
At a slim, graceful 80, and at the end of the most acclaimed decade of his long and lauded career (with Academy Awards as director and producer of Million Dollar Baby, plus five more Oscar nominations for Baby, Mystic River and Letters from Iwo Jima), Eastwood has nothing to prove. Yet in Toronto, he sounded a little defensive about his films' laconic style. As he told Andrea Baillie of the Canadian Press: "In this MTV generation that we live in, I think it's something that I still like to embrace: that we actually unfold the stories and get to know the people and get to know a little more detail about them, rather than play to the common denominator or the lack of attention span that sometimes people feel goes on now." Hereafter is a daunting test for the video-game crowd — and, for more patient viewers, a film of mixed rewards and challenges.
The script is by Peter Morgan, best known for dissecting British royalty (The Queen, The Other Boleyn Girl and, on TV, Henry VII), American Presidents (Frost/Nixon) and African tyrants (The Last King of Scotland). No one in Hereafter has a title; the three main figures are ordinary people with unusual abilities and startling visions. Marie, after her tsunami trauma, has difficulty concentrating on her anchor duties; taking a leave from the show, she feels compelled to write a book about near death experiences. In San Francisco, George (Matt Damon), a psychic with an apparently genuine knack for connecting people with dead relatives, is cropped by his gift and leaves town, fleeing his entrepreneur brother (Jay Mohr) and a potential girlfriend (Bryce Dallas Howard). In London, 11-year-old twins Jason and Marcus (George and Frankie McLaren) give moral support to their wayward mother (Niamh Cusack). When Jason is flattened and killed by an onrushing truck, Marcus is left alone, with nothing but his dead twin's ashes and cap to comfort him, and perhaps speak to him.
Eastwood the director is, as he acknowledges, a man with a slow hand. He lets the story play out at a measured pace. Rather than fiddling with scripts, he shoots them pretty much as written (which is why screenwriters love him). If there's inherent drama in the work, it will emerge; if not, scenes can lie there like a row of carp at San Francisco's Sun Fast Seafood Co.
Hereafter has a few of these longueurs: the disintegration of Marie's affair with her producer; George's budding romance (Howard, who can be a winning actress, undercuts her character here with giggling and nervous tics); Marcus' travails in a foster home after his mother gives him up. A half-hour cut from the film's middle portion would enhance the mystery and the mood. But even in this section, the movie has its privileged moments. Marcus' adventure in the Charing Cross underground station is one to savor: a crowded platform, an elusive cap, lives abruptly ended and another one saved. Like the tsunami scene, it boasts deft editing and a killer climax.
Damon, more comfortable here than as the South African rugby star in Eastwood's Invictus, gives a marvelously understated reading of George, a man whose gift is a curse, whose unquiet mind is tormented by the deaths and afterlives of strangers. De France, so impressive in the role of the crime lord's girlfriend in Mesrine: Killer Instinct, has to be both tough and vulnerable as Marie, and she adroitly balances her character's conflicts, afflictions and dreams. The fates of Marie and George, and of Marcus too, are destined to converge. This involves as much coincidence as supernatural manipulation; but the payoff could leave viewers in tears.
Or not. The movie will divide some Eastwood fans, conquer others. The naysayers will be grateful that, from this healthy, workaholic actor-director, there is always the promise of a good movie — if not here, then hereafter. But if you go with his new picture's slow flow, and stick around for its rapturous resolution, you'll see this as a summing up, a final testament of so many Clint characters, from The Man with No Name to Dirty Harry, from Million Dollar Baby's Frankie Dunn to Gran Torino's Walt Kowalski, for all of whom facing down death was a natural part of life. For Eastwood, and viewers in synch with his mature, melancholy worldview, the hereafter is now.

Director still satisfying his creative urges in new movie starring Matt Damon
By Bob Thompson, Post media News September 10, 2010
Clint Eastwood is famous for telling his actors not to over think things. Since 2003, he seems to have taken his own advice by following his instincts as an artist.
His latest directorial effort is a ghost story, called Hereafter. The supernatural thriller opens theatrically Oct. 22, and will screen at the Toronto International Film Festival in its world premiere Sept. 12. (The last movie Eastwood brought to the festival was 1990's White Hunter Black Heart).

Above: Matt Damon arrives for the Premiere
In Hereafter, three stories intertwine for one climactic suspense yarn. Matt Damon portrays an American factory worker-turned-psychic who can communicate with the dead, but is uneasy with the calling.
Cecile De France portrays a French TV reporter and near-death survivor of the great tsunami. Frankie and George McLaren are English brothers, one of whom dies in a car crash. Co-starring are Bryce Dallas Howard, Jay Mohr, Lyndsey Marshal and Thierry Neuvic.
While Eastwood is the driving force behind the film's eerie themes of mourning and loss, the 80-year-old is quick to give credit to Hereafter screenwriter Peter Morgan, who's best known for his Oscar-celebrated scripts for the movies The Queen and Frost/Nixon.
Typically, Eastwood would rather let his film about the afterlife do the explaining, as would Howard.
The actress didn't want to go into detail about Hereafter in an interview last June, but the daughter of Oscar-winning director Ron Howard did offer a brief description of Eastwood as an efficient, no-nonsense moviemaker.

Above: Actress Bryce Dallas Howard at the premiere
"He is truly masterful at what he does," she said. "He knows exactly what he has to get from his actors, and he knows when he has it."
Certainly, Hereafter is another in a string of pictures made to satisfy Eastwood's creative urges.
"A friend of mine said that when you hit your 70s, you kind of do what you want," Eastwood told Postmedia News last year. "Because, what can they do to you and what do you care?"
That attitude has served him well over the last few years. He's received acclaim and Oscar recognition for 1992's Unforgiven, 2003's Mystic River and 2004's Million Dollar Baby.
But he'd much rather discuss the actors' performances, and the fact that he directed four of his stars to Oscar victory two years in a row: Sean Penn won best actor for his part in Mystic River while Tim Robbins won best supporting actor, and Hilary Swank won best actress for her role in Million Dollar Baby, with best supporting actor going to Morgan Freeman.
Even more amazing, Eastwood picked up best picture and directing Oscar nods for 2006's Letters from Iwo Jima. Only eight other foreign language films have managed that, including Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 2000 and 1998's Life Is Beautiful. And let's not forget his Letters from Iwo Jima companion war film, Flags of Our Fathers.
In 2008, Eastwood continued his momentum. He helped Angelina Jolie get an Oscar nomination for her lead role in his crime tale, Changeling. And although he was Oscar-snubbed for Gran Torino, the low-budget revenge movie he directed and starred in, the picture did well at the box office.
Last year, the director guided Damon, his Hereafter co-star, to a supporting actor Oscar nod for his role in Invictus, a fiction-based-on-fact movie about rugby and South African President Nelson Mandela's first term.
If that weren't impressive enough, Eastwood is in the pre-production phase for Hoover, the film profile of the controversial FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, which might feature Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role.
It's quite a variety of films reflecting his more perceptive style, although he only begrudgingly acknowledges it.
"I don't know how I balance anything," said Eastwood about his new approach. "I just kind of go along. I do think that, as I've matured -- which is essentially a way of saying aging -- I've reached out to different sides of different stories and different stories that maybe were appealing to me."
The irony is that Eastwood received the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award at the Oscars in 1995 for his body of work, as if the story was complete.
Mind you, his accomplishments were already impressive as an actor, director and producer in a career spanning five decades.
Classic portrayals included the cowboy with no name in Sergio Leone's spaghetti westerns, his Dirty Harry cop pictures, Unforgiven, and his early directorial efforts, such as 1971's Play Misty For Me, the underrated but newly discovered Bronco Billy in 1980, 1982's Honkytonk Man and the acclaimed Bird in 1988.
Even when he was labelled a right-wing, gun-toting headliner, he admits he was interested in less formulaic films, "but the pressure was on as a young man when I started out in movies to do a lot of action."
That was then, all right. And this is the Toronto festival-bound Eastwood now -- more prolific and more vital than he's ever been.

Exclusive interview with Eastwood and Damon about Hereafter
It’s been twenty years since legendary filmmaker and actor Clint Eastwood premiered, “White Hunter Black Heart” at the Toronto International film festival. He has finally returned, with his latest offering, “Hereafter” that stars Matt Damon as a blue-collar worker with a special connection to the afterlife. Three parallel storylines unfold in London, San Francisco and France, all involving characters who have lost loved ones or had brushes with death. Eastwood who recently turned 80 and Hereafter star Matt Damon sat down with Tribute’s Bonnie Laufer and an exclusive group of reporters to talk about the film.
Bonnie Laufer: So Clint, I understand that in order to get Mr. Damon again, you had to rearrange schedules because he’s got so many projects on the go. Is that a true statement?
Clint Eastwood: He was busy siring children (laughs). Finally he acquiesced and he came back after Christmas and we did a few sections, but then went back to England to conclude the film.
Q: This seems like a bit of a style change for you, Clint…

Clint Eastwood: Well, I just liked the story. I liked the idea of telling three stories simultaneously. I guess it is like some of those French films where at the conclusion the people all come together…

Q: Matt, how does he get such concise performances out of actors?

Matt Damon: Well he is an actor, so he knows a lot about acting and gives the kind of direction that he would want as an actor. He’s been acting longer than…

Clint Eastwood: Don’t say God. (laughs)
Matt Damon: (laughs) I was just going to say usually than most of the actors that he’s working with, so he’s got a lot of knowledge about what’s helpful and what’s not helpful, and the kind of environment to create. And then obviously as a director for 40 years, he knows what kind of environment is great for his crew and knows a lot about everybody’s job and how to make it easier on everybody. And as a result, everybody really feels like they get to do their best work—and in a really fun atmosphere, too.

Q: You don’t dwell on things, I understand… Clint Eastwood likes to move things along?

Matt Damon: Yeah, and that’s good. I think you can fall into a trap with second guessing yourself and fiddling with something forever, and never pulling the trigger and moving on. So much of directing seems to be that ability to be decisive and keep the train headed somewhere, anywhere, and not just stop and tinker until everybody goes crazy.

Q: Were there any issues with the subject matter? Any concern that it will read the wrong way to some people?

Clint Eastwood: Not really. You just kind of do the project the way the story is, in your mind, supposed to unfold. And you can’t tailor it to any particular person; you can just tailor it to your likes and you hope that people will respond to it.

Bonnie Laufer: Matt, was there any preparation on your part, because, you know, usually when you hear about psychics, most of them are out for a quick buck and you don’t know if they’re telling the truth. But with your character in this film, that’s not what it is; it’s a gift, but he calls it a curse. Did you talk to people who say that they do this, or is it something where you went by the script?

Matt Damon: No, I really went by the script. There are some books that I’d read by people who’ve had near-death experiences. But the script was really tight and really well done. Peter Morgan’s a playwright and it feels like doing a play, you know, where every answer you need to get is already there. There wasn’t any point where we looked at each other and said, “I don’t know what he was thinking with this scene.” It all made sense and fit together really nicely.
Q: Clint, you mentioned that everyone has their own take on the afterlife. What is yours ?
Clint Eastwood: Well, I’ve talked to people who’ve claimed to have had a near death experience and they paint a similar picture. But I don’t know—I haven’t been there and I don’t intend to go there before my time [laughs]. You just think of what it must be like and you have to do it in your imagination. Does it exist? I don’t know.

Matt Damon: That’s one of the things that I like about the movie. It comes to that point where this kid says to me, “Where do we go?” and I say, “I don’t know.” And he says, “But you’ve done all these readings,” and I say, “I’m sorry kid, I still don’t know.” And I like that. I like that the film doesn’t try to give any answers.

Q: The tsunami sequence, was that difficult to shoot?

Clint Eastwood: Yes. [laugh]

Matt Damon: Well, you’ve got to wait for the tsunami… [laugh] That’s really tough.
Clint Eastwood: That was the thing that I liked about the material to begin with. Peter Morgan took incidents that really happened—the tsunami, the London bombings, all of these true events—and incorporated them into the story. I thought that was rather clever.

Q: What took you so long to come back to TIFF?
Clint Eastwood: Everything is just sort of, whatever the timing was. This was the first appearance that I’ve made since A Fistful of Dollars, 46 years ago [laugh]. But no particular reason except that the festival is well thought of, people will come here to enjoy it. And it seemed like the thing to do.

Q: Why Matt Damon? What is it about Matt that makes you want to continue working with him?

Clint Eastwood: At first, I didn’t think of using Matt Damon because he had other conflicts. And then finally it came to a slight conclusion in my brain that we were doing three stories, so why not just do two stories and then do Matt’s story when he’s available? So we did that—we did the first two-thirds and then took a hiatus, and then when Matt was available we started his sequence, then went back to England to do the conclusion of the film.

Q: There’s a real sense of time in this movie. There’s a real measuring sense of accomplishment and something coming together…

Clint Eastwood: In this MTV generation that we live in, something that I still like to embrace is that we actually unfold the stories and get to know the people and get to know a little more detail about them. Rather than play to the common denominator of a lack of attention span that sometimes people feel goes on nowadays with the great information age that we live in where everything has to be immediate and over with. Its two hours and you sit there for two hours, and you enjoy the stories or you don’t enjoy it. If your attention span doesn’t have it in you, then you should be watching something else.
Q: The children were amazing, how did you find them?

Clint Eastwood: With the kids, you get the usual kind of child actors, mimicking their adult trainers. We took two that were the least experienced, but they had great faces and they came from a working-class neighborhood in England that was kind of on the rough side. And they just really wanted to do it. It wasn’t as easy as working with the actors that were all professionals, but at the same token, they had a natural kind of way. Sometimes they’d give you absolutely pure gold, and other times you’d have to wring it out of them. [laughs]
Bonnie Laufer: You did such a wonderful job on-screen in Gran Torino, we didn’t see you in Invictus, and you didn’t appear in “Hereafter.” I hope you’re not going to give up being in front of the camera. Are you going to come back?

Clint Eastwood: [coyly] You never know. [laughs]

Q: What are you working on now that’s exciting?
Clint Eastwood: Well, we just finished this one, Hereafter, and I’m just kind of sitting tight. Gran Torino was the last—not the last acting role, but maybe the last acting role. If a great script comes along, I would entertain that, but so far there isn’t one and I’m not looking for it. But directorally, I’m doing this and I’m delving now into a story about J. Edgar Hoover.
Bonnie Laufer: You’re talking Leonardo DiCaprio for that? Sorry, Matt.

Clint Eastwood: He actually approached us on it. He’s very interested in doing it, so that may come about. We haven’t really gotten into that yet. The reason this one has taken longer than normal in post-production—we had it edited in one week—is because of the tsunami. Water is the hardest thing to do in the world in a CGI format. That had to be a really a convincing sequence, because it’s a key sequence. It just took time.
Q: What have you learned from Clint, Matt?
Matt Damon: Oh man, too numerous to count. TNTC. [laugh] The great thing about making movies is that you really can’t perfect it. It’s just really fun, because you learn something every single time out. Whether you’re working with a great director or you’re working with a schmo and learning what not to do [laugh]. Every movie is different—the problems are different, the solutions are different. It’s just kind of fun. You go every day and you’re with this group of people—and Clint put together a great group—and the problems you have to solve are different. You kind of figure your way through the day and get excited over things that go really well, and he gets you home at a reasonable hour.
Clint Eastwood: Everybody asks who your greatest influences are. But even bad directors that you work with or bad actors that you work with, you learn something from them. You learn what not to do.
Bonnie Laufer: Matt you have so much stuff coming up, do you ever get time to rest?
Matt Damon: I haven’t worked since May—I got the whole summer off and I’m not working ‘til December. But this job, because of the way it got set up, all my stuff got crammed together. So rather than being with the crew for a few months, it was really only a month and it was just concentrated, working every day for a month. And then I did True Grit, which was really only 25 or 26 days of shooting, which was spread out over three months. So it seems like I have a lot coming up, but they weren’t like, six-month movies, one after the other.
Bonnie Laufer: We’re going to see you on the season premiere of 30 Rock?
Matt Damon: Yes! Yeah. I love those guys. I really love that show. I actually saw Tina Fey at an awards show and my wife and I went up to her to tell her how much we love the show. So I joked with her by saying, hey if you ever have apart for me… and soon after she called me up and asked me to be in the premiere.

Q: Is the Liberace project going forward with Michael Douglas?
Matt Damon: Well, yeah, it is. We’re really excited about it. He’s obviously going through his health issues, but from what I understand, it’s not going to be a problem. The numbers are very much on his side and he’s a healthy guy, so we’re all just hoping that everything goes well. We’re hoping to be right on track for shooting next summer. But obviously, we’re willing to wait for our star as long as we have to.

Q: You’ve come a long way from “The First Traveling Saleslady” with Carol Channing… Was that your first role?
Clint Eastwood: My first role was Revenge of the Creature from the Black Lagoon. [laughs] Jack Arnold was the director and Bill Alland was the producer. He was the guy who played the reporter in Citizen Kane.

Screen International, 13 September, 2010 By Mark Adams, chief film critic
Hereafter Dir/music: Clint Eastwood. US. 2010. 123mins
Clint Eastwood takes a bold change of pace with Hereafter, a compelling and thoughtfully structured delve into the world of the supernatural, weaving together three separate storylines that all finally converge to satisfying effect. This is no spooky chiller though…instead a fascinating look at how death affects a series of completely different people.Above: Clint with actress Cecile de France

The film is scripted by Peter Morgan – whose impressive track record includes The Queen and Frost/Nixon) - and he has set Eastwood a rather different directorial challenge. This is not a film dominated by action or effects, but instead a complex interwoven story of people trying to deal with the traumas and find solace rather than solutions.
That being said, Hereafter does open in quite spectacular fashion. Successful French television reporter Marie (the spectacularly good Cecile de France) is on holiday with her TV director boyfriend at a tropical beachside resort and one morning she wanders into the nearby town to look for trinkets to take home to Paris.
The resort is then hit with a massive tsunami, and she finds herself swept away in the terrifying torrent of water. She is plucked from the water, and while two men try and save her she finds herself mentally seeing ‘the other side’, strange shadowy white figures against a misty backdrop. She is miraculously brought back to life, but cannot forget or totally comprehend her near-death experience.
Meanwhile in San Francisco, factory worker George (Matt Damon) is trying to hide away from his previous career as a psychic who could communicate with the dead. For him his power is a terrible curse rather than a gift, and he tries to hide himself away and not get close to people.
Taking a night school course in Italian cooking – Damon is engagingly clumsy chopping tomatoes – he meets a woman trying to start her life over (Bryce Dallas Howard), but when they start to get close she asks him to ‘read’ her. He delves into her past and tells her truths which drive her away.
In England young twins Marcus and Jason (Frankie and George McLaren) try to protect their druggie mother from the local social service, but when Jason is killed in a car accident Marcus finds himself taken away from his mother and also haunted by the loss of his brother.
The threesome of George, Marie and Marcus are all touched by death in different ways, and each struggle to find ways to deal with the ways that their memories and emotions drive them to find answers.
Marie takes a leave of absence from her job and writes a book about her experience in the tsunami and about the afterlife – after taking a side trip to Switzerland to talk to an academic who ha studied the hereafter (Marthe Keller in a nice cameo) – while young Marcus visits fake psychics and doctors as he looks to find a way to communicate with his brother. While searching the net he comes across an old website detailing George’s abilities.
The three finally come together in London. George is there on a holiday – and a way to escape his brother (Jay Mohr) and his plans for George to go back into the psychic business – and Marie is in the city on a book tour. The three meet by accident at a book fair, where George is drawn to Marie at a reading and where Marcus spots George and follows him back to his hotel.
Eastwood ends the film with no crash-bang effects or profound announcements. Simply that these three very different people find ways to deal with their brushes with death. George helps Marcus to let his bother go, and in a low-key moment at the end George and Marie find the possibility of love.
Clint Eastwood does not resort to any clever editing to tell the three parallel stories, instead opts for a linear style switching between each storyline in 10 minute bursts, and allowing each of the characters to develop gradually. He does a great job in reflecting the socio-economic circumstances of each character (Marie is wealthy and glamorous, Marcus has a tough housing estate life and George lives modestly and along and works in a local factory) and with no fuss of grandstanding elegantly weaves the parallel storyline together.
Cecile de France is thoroughly enchanting as the glamorous TV presenter who finds her life unraveling after the tsunami (a brilliantly staged effects sequence), while Matt Damon underplays impressively as a man trying to hide from life. Young Frankie McLaren has a tougher job as the tormented youngster, called on largely to look doe-eyed and sad for most of the film, but he holds his own a his storyline develops.
It is good to see Clint Eastwood trying something very different. Fans expecting to see a supernatural thriller will be disappointed….but those interested in a shrewdly made and well-scripted drama about loss and compassion will be intrigued and impressed.

Production companies: Malpaso Productions, The Kennedy/Marshall Company
US and International distribution: Warners Bros
Producers: Clint Eastwood, Kathleen Kennedy, Robert Lopez
Executive producers: Frank Marshall, Tim Moore, Peter Morgan, Steven Spielberg
Screenplay: Peter Morgan
Cinematography: Tom Stern
Editors: Joel Cox, Gary Roach
Production designer: James J Murakami
Main cast: Matt Damon, Cecile de France, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jay Mohr, Frankie McLaren, George McLaren, Marthe Keller

Variety, Justin Chang, Sept 12, 2010
A Warner Bros. release of a Malpaso, Kennedy/Marshall production. Produced by Clint Eastwood, Kathleen Kennedy, Robert Lorenz. Executive producers, Steven Spielberg, Frank Marshall, Peter Morgan, Tim Moore. Directed by Clint Eastwood. Screenplay, Peter Morgan. George Lonegan - Matt Damon Marie LeLay - Cecile de France Billy - Jay Mohr Melanie - Bryce Dallas Howard Marcus/Jason - George McLaren, Frankie McLaren Didier - Thierry Neuvic Dr. Rousseau - Marthe Keller Himself - Derek Jacobi
Clint Eastwood moves into risky new territory with old-fashioned grace and sturdy classical filmmaking in "Hereafter." An uneven but absorbing triptych of stories concerning the bonds between the living and the dead, the 80-year-old filmmaker's latest feature is a beguiling blend of the audacious and the familiar; it dances right on the edge of the ridiculous and at times even crosses over, but is armored against risibility by its deep pockets of emotion, sly humor and matter-of-fact approach to the fantastical. Oct. 22 release may divide even Eastwood partisans, but the intriguing supernatural angle should help generate positive B.O. readings.Above: Clint and his cast at the TIFF

The screenplay by Peter Morgan (taking a break from dramatizing the lives of British celebrities) quickly establishes three parallel narratives, the first of which kicks off in disaster-movie mode: French TV journalist Marie LeLay (Cecile de France) is vacationing in the tropics with b.f. Didier (Thierry Neuvic) when the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami hits. Borne along by the rapidly moving tides, rendered with inexpert visual effects but a vivid sense of peril, Marie hits her head, blacks out and has an otherworldly vision -- all blinding white light and ghostly silhouettes -- before regaining consciousness.
Meanwhile, in San Francisco, construction worker George Lonegan (Matt Damon) tries to repress his apparently genuine psychic gift, fending off requests from acquaintances and strangers hoping to communicate with their lost loved ones. Finally, in London, young twin brothers Marcus and Jason (played interchangeably by George and Frankie McLaren) try to ward off social services by covering up for their alcoholic mother, yielding unexpectedly tragic consequences.
Eastwood allows each of these stories to develop in unhurried fashion, always keeping the specter of death hovering in the background. Marie returns to Paris but has trouble readjusting to her job after her traumatic experience, while one of the boys, Marcus, becomes eerily obsessed with psychic phenomena. And George, in an unusually charming development, joins an Italian cooking class (taught by Steven R. Schirripa, boisterously channeling Emeril Lagasse), where he's paired with a beautiful stranger, Melanie (Bryce Dallas Howard).
The question that propels "Hereafter" is how these three yarns will eventually converge (the answer: creakily), and on the face of it, this fractured, globe-trotting tale of fate and mortality bears a strong resemblance to the work of scribe Guillermo Arriaga, specifically "Babel." But while the film trades in too many coincidences -- suffice it to say the tsunami is not the only real-world disaster invoked -- the mitigating charm of Eastwood's approach is how subdued, unportentous and laid-back it is. He seems in no hurry to establish the missing links, trusting us to engage with the characters before we know exactly how they fit together.
As though aware of the raised eyebrows that may greet his borderline-schlocky choice of material, Eastwood pauses midway through to register a healthy measure of skepticism; a montage shows one character consulting a series of psychics, every one of them a charlatan. Even still, we're meant to take it on faith that Damon's George is the real deal (his gifts are even given a biological explanation), and the film presents his frequent glimpses of the netherworld -- similar to Marie's near-death visions -- in an unquestioning manner that viewers will have to either accept or reject.
As unabashedly suffused with emotion as any of Eastwood's films, "Hereafter" is finally less interested in addressing life's great mysteries than in offering viewers the soothing balm of catharsis; the portal to the beyond, as conceived here, serves merely as a practical gateway into inner peace, romantic renewal and, most consolingly, the reassurance that our loved ones never leave us. This sentiment is conveyed when George reluctantly performs a reading for Melanie, all the more powerful for its apparent disconnection from the rest of the story.
The fact that much of the film is set in Europe lends it a unique look and texture in the helmer's oeuvre; Tom Stern's camera at times pulls back to take in the varied landscapes, but bathes many of the interiors in his customary inky blacks, the intense chiaroscuro serving to up the hushed, spiritual quality of the film's most intimate moments. As usual, Eastwood's score is a tad overinsistent if melodically spare, its few notes reiterated on various instruments (including piano, guitar and harmonica), and supplemented here by snippets of Rachmaninoff.
Damon and de France (toplining her first major studio picture) are sympathetic enough as characters who are more or less at the mercy of the cosmos, while the brothers McLaren eventually cast off their Dickensian-moppet shackles, particularly in the final reel. But it's Howard whose relatively brief presence really lingers, her performance starting off goofy and ingratiating before taking on an almost otherworldly intensity.

Camera (Technicolor prints, Panavision widescreen), Tom Stern; editors, Joel Cox, Gary D. Roach; music, Eastwood; production designer, James J. Murakami; supervising art director, Patrick Sullivan; set decorator, Gary Fettis; costume designer, Deborah Hopper; sound (Dolby Digital/DTS/SDDS), Walt Martin; supervising sound editors, Alan Robert Murray, Bub Asman; re-recording mixers, John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff; visual effects supervisor, Michael Owens; stunt coordinators, Rob Inch, B.L. Richmond, Thom Williams; assistant director, David M. Bernstein; casting, Fiona Weir. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Special Presentations), Sept. 11, 2010. (Also in New York Film Festival -- closer.) MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 129 MIN.
The Hollywood Reporter, Hereafter - Film Review
By Kirk Honeycutt, September 13, 2010
TORONTO -- Clint Eastwood continues his search for challenging stories that delve into extreme reaches of the human condition in "Hereafter," a globetrotting inquiry into the nature of the afterlife. The film also marks an unexpected turn in the screenwriting of Peter Morgan, away from his survey of political personalities in such films as "The Queen" and "Frost/Nixon" and into metaphysical speculation. The film never is less than intriguing, right from its tour de force opening sequence, and often full of insights into why people long for answers, sometimes with great urgency.
By now Eastwood has established a reputation for the unexpected, so his admirers -- "fans" no longer seems the right word -- plus anyone curious about the subject matter certainly will line up when Warner Bros. releases the film domestically Oct. 22. The film should do very well in Europe next year as well.
One would expect such subjects as mortality and the afterlife would mean a contemplative, even moody piece. But Morgan has planted a sense of immediacy within these international stories about three people searching for answers.
Strange as it sounds, the film reminds a little of old Claude Lelouch movies -- and not just because Marthe Keller, looking wonderful, shows up in one sequence -- because Morgan's story plays with fate and destiny as people's paths eventually cross after incidents in different parts of the world send them on a collision course.
A tsunami tears through a tropical beach town, causing a French television news anchor (Cecile de France) to have a near-death experience. An otherwise normal American (Matt Damon) desperately wants to flee his "curse," a psychic ability to communicate with the dead. Two twin boys in London are inseparable until they are separated by death, leaving the shyer, more dependent brother (Frankie McLaren) desperate to reach beyond the grave for assurance.
Each story has its own subplots and captivating characters. The French woman, something of a celebrity, is in a relationship with her married producer (Thierry Neuvic). The experience has so shaken her that he suggests she take time off to write a political book. She does, but her writing veers off course as she investigates scientists who research the afterlife and the stigma attached to their work.
The psychic aches to get out of the "reading" business, but his brother (Jay Mohr) knows a gold mine when he sees it, and a fledgling relationship with a bright, pretty woman (Bryce Dallas Howard) falls apart because of his unwanted ability.
The twins' mother (Lyndsey Marshal) is a junkie. Following the death of the "older" brother (George McLaren), social workers and even the mother finally agree that his brother must go into foster care while she rehabs. It couldn't happen at a worse time for the lad.
All three stories have a sense of urgency: these are people tormented by the inexplicable. Eastwood establishes their stress but never hurries the film. Many absorbing moments dot the movie that luxuriate in situations and details, such as a cooking class where the psychic meets a potential lover or a London Underground sequence where an enigmatic event rescues the brother.
Eastwood's actors underplay what has potential for hokey melodrama. Indeed, the film nimbly maneuvers through territory few American films enter. Perhaps for good reason: Remember the debacle of "What Dreams May Come?"
Even with all this, the ending is a letdown. It's too facile, too ... well, Lelouch, as a matter of fact. One wants a film dealing with the ultimate metaphysical issue to end on a more profound note than the finish Morgan comes up with.
However, it certainly will give audiences something to debate on the way home. As with "Letters From Iwo Jima" and "Million Dollar Baby," Eastwood has made a movie that shakes up the whole notion of what studio movies can be.
A final note: Eastwood's lilting musical score is among his best.
Venue: Toronto International Film Festival (Warner Bros.)Production companies: Warner Bros. presents a Kenndy/Marshall Co./Malpaso Productions productionCast: Matt Damon, Cecile de France, Frankie McLaren, Jay Mohr, Bryce Dallas Howard, George McLaren, Thierry Neuvic, Marthe Keller, Derek Jacobi, Richard KindDirector/music: Clint EastwoodScreenwriter: Peter MorganProducer: Clint Eastwood, Kathleen Kennedy, Robert LorenzExecutive producers: Steven Spielberg, Frank Marshall, Tim Moore, Peter MorganDirector of photography: Tom SternProduction designer: James J. MurakamiCostume designer: Deborah HopperEditor: Joel Cox, Gary D. RoachSales: Warner Bros.Rated PG-13, 123 minutes
Above: Clint and Matt share a joke at the TIFF
Can Clint Eastwood regain his awards luster?
Written by Steven Zeitchik / Los Angeles Times
Tuesday, 21 September 2010 11:52

TORONTO—Judging by the reaction to him at Toronto’s Elgin Theatre on Sunday night, Clint Eastwood can still muster a lot of love. There was standing ovation when he came out to introduce his new film, Hereafter, and the kind of murmurs through the crowd reserved for rock stars and world leaders.
Yet in recent years, the response Eastwood has received from awards voters—those arbiters of taste, for better or worse, in modern Hollywood—has been less enthusiastic.
After three movies that landed Best Picture nominations in a span of four years (Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby and Letters from Iwo Jima) Eastwood has gone colder than the hands around Scorpio’s gun. His last three movies—Changeling, Gran Torino and Invictus—each had clear awards potential. And yet apart from a few acting nominations and two technical nominations, Oscar acclaim has eluded the icon. No director nominations for Eastwood on any of the three films; no Best Picture nominations either.
Eastwood’s most recent effort, the Nelson Mandela-centered sports movie Invictus, was a particular disappointment on that front. Although not a unanimous reviewer favorite, the film contained political subject matter, an inspirational story, historical and period flourishes, and a larger-than-life central character. Its omission from the Oscar Best Picture list last year, when the academy had the luxury of 10 selections, might have stung even a more awards-agnostic filmmaker.
The film that could break Eastwood’s cold streak this year comes in the form of Hereafter, a spiritual/supernatural triptych starring Matt Damon. Those looking for blazingly original subject matter may not be entirely satisfied with three afterlife-related story strands that, inevitably, come together at the end, in the manner of an Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu film or a host of indie dramas from the last decade or so. And with its sometimes gauzy exploration of the topic of the afterlife—particularly in the story of a French woman who believes she has seen the white light and then undertakes a search trying to understand it—the movie leaves itself open to the criticism of pseudodepth that seemingly comes whenever Hollywood tackles spiritual subjects.
But there is a quiet drama and pacing in Hereafter that could appeal to reviewers and the academy’s base. More important, there is a stretching of subject matter and genre, even by the standards of the already-elastic Eastwood. The academy likes to give what are essentially lifetime achievement awards (e.g., Martin Scorsese’s 2006 wins for The Departed) to reward an icon for doing something particularly well for so long. With Eastwood, it sometimes seems moved for a very different reason: to reward an icon for doing so many different things for so long.
If that’s the criteria, Hereafter stands an excellent chance this season. Eastwood’s moral preoccupations are often similar from movie to movie, but his backdrops and genres are radically different. The film is a departure even by those standards. Drop a filmgoer into a theater that’s showing Hereafter and ask him to guess the director. Eastwood may be the 30th or 40th name that comes up.
Eastwood has, in recent years, shown a remarkable consistency at the box office. In the last six years, every one of his movies (aside from Letters from Iwo Jima) grossed almost exactly the same amount, between $33 million and $37 million. (The one exception was Gran Torino, his most successful movie as either an actor or a director, when he caught lightning in a bottle and grossed a whopping $148 million.)
There is a die-hard base that is attracted to Eastwood and his work, a group that is not large but is exceedingly reliable. There used to be a corresponding cadre among awards voters. We’ll see if they return with Hereafter.